How to Bath a Small Animal Pet
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How to Bath a Small Animal Pet

Should I bath my bunny, can you bath a bunny, how to bath a rabbit. Do ferrets need bathing. Can I was my hamster. Do small pets need baths?

If you own a small pets such as a hamster, mouse, rat, guinea pig, or rabbit, you may be wondering how to bath it, or if it does need a bath at all.

Most small pets do not need bathing, in fact bathing them can strip their coats of special oils. It can chill them to the point where they become ill or can be very stressful. There is very little reason to bath a small animal.

Some exceptions include chinchillas and ferrets.

Chinchillas need dust baths, and a special dust powder can be placed in a large litter box for this purpose, with the chinchilla giving itself its own bath.

Ferrets often require bathing, and can be bathed monthly using proper ferret shampoo or cat shampoo. If you bathe a ferret more often it develop skin problems such as dry skin. Ferrets can be bathed in the same way that cats are bathed. Fill up the sink with a little bit of water and hold your ferret in the water, using a cloth or sponge to bring the water onto its back. Keep the water out of its ears and away from its face. After it is wet apply the shampoo, rinse and apply conditioner; rinse again. Dry the ferret with a towel and keep warm until it is throughly dry. After the bath is a good time to trim your ferrets' nails and clean its teeth.

The above information on ferrets would also apply to skunks.

Rabbits sometimes get dirty bottoms which is an issue that should be addressed immediately. If ignored a smelly bottom will attract flies and this can result in a deadly problem known as fly strike. Rabbits get dirty bottoms because they produce a softer type of feces called cecotrophes which are meant to be eaten. If they stick to the fur they can become a problem.

Because bathing can be so stressful on a bunny that it can send them into shock, so is not recommended. If you must you can so do by putting an inch or two (2-5 cm) of warm water in the sink, and lowering your rabbit into that calmly. Never put a rabbit in a sink full of water. Use only rabbit shampoo. Be sure to rinse and dry the bunny well.

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Guinea Pigs also rarely need bathing, but the hairless ones (or skinny pigs) might need bathing to help remove the oils that build up on their skin. This is best done only by using a soapy sponge, and rinsing them with a clean sponge, never put a guinea pig in a sink full of water.

African Pygmy hedgehogs should not be bathed either, this is stressful on them and can send them into shock. They would also be very hard to dry and the wetness trapped in their quills could cause skin infections.

Pet birds will enjoy a bowl of water for bathing in as birds do like to take baths.


Overall keep in mind that while we might think bathing a pet is nurturing it and providing it with care, it is often not required. Most small pets do not like baths, and do need them. While some larger animals, such as horses and dogs, might love playing in water, most smaller pets do not.

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Comments (2)

Excellent information! voted up!

Thank you for the cautions here. I rely on your expertise in animals of all sizes.